iOS Workflow Question

#1

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I am fairly new to DEVONthink, but it’s quickly become indispensable to my work. I prefer to save web articles as PDFs in my database. However, I’ve not found a suitable workflow on iOS. What I’m currently doing is saving the web archive when I am on iOS and then going to my Mac and saving the article again as a PDF. I would like to skip this step.

I can get the pdf into DEVONthink To Go, but there are some problems with it. For one, the url is not saved when I use the “print” function and send the article to DEVON. In addition, the embedded clickable links no longer work. Creating the PDF on the Mac fixes both of these issues, but I can’t seem to find a way to do it on iOS.

Please note, I’m using the “print to PDF” as the web clipper does not allow me to save from the “reader view” on iOS Safari. The reader view is essential to me as I don’t want all the web ads in my database. I’ve even tried sending the article to Instapaper and getting it into DEVONthink from there, but that isn’t satisfactory either. Am I missing something?

Thanks. Doty

#2

Welcome to the forums!

iOS ≠ macOS, so they don’t function the same in many ways.

Why are you saving a web archive then converting it to a PDF?

Reader View is smoke and mirrors, so it doesn’t behave as a standard URL does for clipping. Have you tried the Clutter-free option?

#3

I realize this, of course. But it seems there should be a way to do what I’m trying to do, even if it involves an externally created workflow.

If I’m on my Mac, I don’t do this, but when I am on iOS I can’t seem to find a way to save to PDF and retain the functionality I need. On iOS, I save as a web archive or bookmark so I have that article saved. But in general, I want to be able to markup my research. Web archive does not allow for highlighting and there are other limitations.

On the Mac, saving from reader view works perfectly. The url and clickable links are retained. I’m not sure what you mean by “smoke and mirrors.” Generally speaking, reader view creates the most readable version of a web article possible. Yes. I tried the clutter-free option and I ran into so many problems with it I no longer trust it to work properly. IMO, the clutter-free option either doesn’t strip the ads, or strips too much. It works sometimes, but not often enough for me to trust it.

#4

Try this:

  1. Put the page into Reader View
  2. Open the Share Sheet
  3. Use the Print Option
  4. Pinch Out (Like you are zooming)
  5. Open the Share Sheet in the Upper Right
  6. Clip to DEVONthink

This will give you the Reader view text and images in a PDF.

1 Like
#5

Thanks. That will indeed give me the look that I am going for. I’ve tried this myself many times. However, here is the problem: DevonThink will not capture the url of the article when I do it this way. In addition, if the article has any links in it, they will not be clickable.

When I save articles as you suggest, I have a beautiful readable pdf in DevonThink. YAY! But, later I have to go back and google to find the url of the original article and/or to click on any links the article references.

#6

When using File > Export PDF. The URL is “smoke and mirrors” for trying to capture it via the browser extension.

#7

I am on the same journey with this, mtnh2oskier.

I routinely save webpages for later reference. My preference is to preserve the pages as PDFs with intact links. Like you, I have not discovered a way to do this in iOS.

My current workaround is to clip to DTTG as clutter-free markdown, which succeeds most of the time. Formatting is very different visually, but the articles are quite readable and have intact links and a link to the source.

My only gripes about saving articles as markdown vs PDF is that I find them less pleasing to annotate. Also, I find sharing markdown more cumbersome because not everyone I share information with knows what markdown is or how to open the files.

I am hoping to find that a Shortcut can be created that converts a webpage to PDF with intact links and source. If anyone has already figured this, or an alternative workflow, out, please share.

#8

I consume articles found on the web every day. I use a Workflow that results in a PDF that has pagination, includes the the article’s links to other web pages, does not include the ads and other frames not associated with the article’s frame (uncluttered), and ends with a link to the article’s web url, on the last page of the PDF.

My solution relies on the Bear iOS app. When viewing a web page of interest I tap the share icon and choose the Bear icon. I then have a choice of sending a link, a titled link or the page’s contents to Bear - I choose the latter. I then jump to Bear where I display the file and I tap the info icon (I) and choose exporting as PDF. Note that Bear stores it’s original copy as markdown. I consider this the intermediate form of the article in Bear. Once I export it as PDF I usually delete the markdown internal file in Bear, or save it temporarily in case I want to export it again in one if it’s export formats (text, PDF, RTF, docs, md and html). Once I choose PDF as the export format, Bear displays the PDF and I then share it by choosing copy to Devonthink and the PDF ends up in DTTG’s global inbox.

This may sound like a torturous Workflow, but it’s quite fast. The downside is that you need a Bear subscription, the free version does not include the needed features for the full workflow (I believe). For me, Bear is my primary editor, it does the things I need that other editors don’t provide so i’d Pay the subscription regardless.

1 Like
#9

Hi All,

I came here looking for answers about clipping web pages to PDF on DTTG and found this thread.

I appreciate all the input but feel that the most fundamental question that mtnh2oskier is posing still has not been addressed - why can’t the DTTG share sheet offer the option to clip from the web in PDF format and retain info such as the source URL?

Note, the application Keep It, by Reinvented Software (another great document management program (on both Mac and iOS) akin to DevonThink) is able to offer this functionality both through its iOS share sheet as well as through bookmarklet functionality.

Clipping to PDF on DT for Mac (including source URL) is such a useful, well implemented and (I imagine) popular feature. As such, given how much more of my work seems to happen on iOS these days, I find the absence of this functionality in DTTG very frustrating and probably the biggest pain point of using DTTG in my workflow.

Can someone explain why this functionality does not exist in DTTG given that it already exists in other similar iOS apps (such as Keep It) that are arguably less powerful than DTTG in many other ways?

1 Like
#10

Wow! Thanks for the great idea! I’m going to give this a shot. I have a Bear subscription, having just recently switched to it from Drafts and nvALT on the Mac.

If this works well, we could probably come up with a Siri shortcut or Workflow to make it faster.

#11

Thanks. I fully agree with you that this is my biggest pain point with Devonthink. I’m going to give Bear a shot as a intermediary and hopefully that will do the trick. It’s ridiculous that we have to jump through these kinds of hoops, but if it works I’m willing to.

1 Like
#12

If Bear can convert webpages to PDF via markdown, why can’t DTTG?

This would be a fantastic feature to have.

#13

Well, Bear is a major app developed by some aggressive coders. I don’t think DevonThink can spread themselves too thin. What’s next? Asking Devon to support in-app features that duplicate Excel?

#14

I’d gladly pay a couple of bucks for it, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t need the Bear workaround, or the subscription.

I’m sure many others would too. It’s included in the Desktop software, so why not GTTG?

#15

@Link648099:

iOS ≠ macOS. Just because something is available on one platform, it doesn’t mean it is possible on the other. At the least, many things you take for granted on macOS require a lot of effort to replicate in iOS, given the differences between devices’ capabilities and experience.

#16

Blue Frog,

Bear did it.

#17

Something being accomplished does not make it trivial to implement. We also have done things other companies haven’t. If the solution were so simple, we likely would have done it already.

#18

Keep in mind that even Apple doesn’t print PDF of webpage while preserving links… on iOS. This is sort of a basic thing on macOS, but Apple — for whatever reason — has not made its PDF engine on iOS as full-featured as on macOS.

Try it:

  • open Apple Wikipedia page
  • share icon, select Print
  • pinch-out to expand the preview.
  • share the preview to your favorite PDF application (e.g., PDF Expert, GoodReader, or other).
  • check out the links on the PDF. They’re colored, as if they’re links, but none of the links work!

iPad PRO*

*YMMV, annoying

How did Bear accomplish this? No idea. Maybe they run pandoc on the HTML of the website you’ve selected and then send back Markdown. Is pandoc available on iOS? I don’t know. This is all pure speculation by an admittedly non-expert/non-computer programmer.

#19

I already posted, that web clipping is not working on IOS. I bought the pro office Version and the IOS version in order to have a seamless document management solution. As far, I am not able to save web content in a reliable way to DT on my iPad.

That’s annoying.

And, no, I am not willing to pay Evernote, Bear or Instapaper subscription fees for one of the core features I intended to use DT for.

Then I can just go back to Evernote. It works effortless, if I would not mind about US cloud storing my data…

1 Like
#20

I‘m interested in this topic as well.
There are webservices you can use on any iOS browser to create PDFs, e. g. : https://www.web2pdfconvert.com/

Also, via IFTTT you can automatically save webpages to a cloud folder, based on tags you set in Pocket (also Instapaper). This cloud folder can be watched by DT. That’s what I do right now to get pages into DT from iOS. But this method doesn‘t give me pdfs, which I‘d prefer.

If someone knows a workaround via IFTTT or whatever, that saves PDFs to DT from an iOS device, please let me now.

(But maybe meanwhile it would be easiest to just save the bookmark to a special folder and just capture the links therein on the Mac every once in a while …)